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Johannes Brahms is Born

Today in Masonic History Johannes Brahms is born in 1833.

Johannes Brahms was a German Composer.

Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7th, 1833. His father played several instruments and earned a meager living. When young his father gave him his first music lesson. By the age of 7 he was taking piano lessons. Since the family was living in poverty, he had to contribute to the families finances. He played in various dance halls. Anecdotal evidence has him composing starting at the age of 11. He was often not a fan of his own creations and his works from the age of 11 were destroyed. The only reason it's known they existed was a fellow pupil of his claimed to have seen them. Along with the piano, he briefly studied the Cello.

Brahms played several concerts in his teens around Hamburg, he did not become famous as a pianist until the age of 19 when he went on a tour. He also conducted choirs and became a proficient choral and orchestra conductor.

In 1853, he traveled to Hanover and then to Weimer where he met several other prominent composers of the time, including Franz Liszt. On their first meeting, Liszt performed one of Brahms pieces. Brahms fell asleep during the performance, he later stated he was sorry for it and the travel had taken too much out of him.

In Weimer, Brahms met Joseph Joachim. Joachim gave him a letter of introduction to Robert Schumann. Brahms went to Düsseldorf and there was welcomed into the Schumann family. Brahms formed a close relationship with Schumann's wife Clara. There are indications Brahms had strong feelings for her, and the two corresponded frequently. In fact all of the pieces Brahms wrote in the future went through her hands. When Schumann passed away in 1856, Brahms distanced himself form Clara physically, although they continued to correspond.

In 1890, at the age of 57 and after composing many musical pieces, Brahms was resolved to stop composing. He was unable to abide by his own decision and continued to compose until his passing.

On April 3rd, 1897, Brahms passed away from a form of cancer (it is debated whether it was liver or pancreatic).

Brahms is listed in many books and publications as a mason. Although Brahms did compose several pieces of masonic music, there is no evidence he ever joined the fraternity. Brahms lived much of his life in Vienna and Freemasonry was illegal there during Brahms life. This information was obtained thanks to support from the German National Masonic Museum.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.